Venice – a day trip from Lake Garda
When thinking about Lake Garda in the very north of Italy, you might imagine hiking in the foothills of the Alps, drinking some Bardolino Classico or practice your surfing skills. But did you actually know that Venice is just a short 90 min train ride away from the lakes south shores?
Even though there is enough to see and do around Lake Garda to spent a month there, it’s worth a thousand times to hop on that train! Venice, baby! Venice is amazing and overwhelming and more important: it looks exactly like you think it would. It’s the imperishable venetian cityshape that appears today as it did 40 years ago in those famous italian movies, An everlasting film set.
Fun Fact: Venice got it’s first female Gondolier in 2010
Well… unfortunately Venice is not that unfading after all. It’s sinking a couple of millimeters per year and gets frequently flooded. Hence the lagoon is founding slowly but surely. You can witness the decay actually already on every other house. The front door and presumably as well the ground floor are inhabitable as they sea level rose already above their base.
Fun Fact: The water that runs down the channels of Venice looks muddy and opaque due to the sandy grounds and not because it’s necessarily dirty
When leaving the train station you will find yourself as much in Venice as you can be. This immersion comes as a little shock. I could simply not refrain from letting the one or other “oh” and “ah” slip my mouth. (and from taking like a trillion pictures within the first 3 minutes fearing I would not see more bridges in the hours to come, poor thing that I am)
In a nutshell: After arriving, we slowly strolled – with plenty of detours – direction Piazza San Marco. We took more pictures, had a coffee, crossed the Rialto Bridge, walked a little more, suffered from the unbelievable heat (July, 36°C) and arrived at the Piazza just to realise that it’s even hotter there and that it basically sucks. (gross story: there are folks posing for pictures with pigeons on their head! I’d rather use a public toilet…)
Yes, that’s true. The touristic hotspots in Venice are really nothing of much interest. But this should absolutely not put you off! The very great thing about this city is that you just have to take a turn into the next street and you’ll find yourself almost in solitude. Between bridges, channels, beautiful Palazzi, and people that are minding their own businesses. As if the jumble of tourists, merchants, sellers and guides wouldn’t exist. We had lunch in a little snack bar in a not too busy street. When leaving we realised that Piazza San Marco was just around the next corner. (What explained the surprising price of the lunch after all)
Venice is really an exceptional city and if you have the chance to go there, go! I am not entirely sure if it’s worth to spent more than a day or 2 there. Unless you are heavily interested in art .. or culture. If you’re philistine like me, a day trip is fair.
How to make the most out of your day trip to Venice with kids (or without)?
Get there early. As early as you possibly can. We arrived at 8:30 am and it was captivating to see the city waking up in it’s morning mood.
Have a ride in a Gondola I know, I know… it’s cheesy and expensive. I don’t even know anymore where the urge came from to actually do it but it was THE BEST thing, really. The best 80€ and the best 30min.
Spend some play and relax time in Biennale de Venezia Parc. It’s a bit far out but you’re kids will be grateful for NOT having to walk back through the afternoon busyness of Venice and having a bit of playtime instead.
Take a Vaporetto (waterbus). Very convenient: the boat stops just in front of the Biennale de Venezia Parc and ships you comfy back to the train station. Just consider for your planning, that a ride might take up to 45min. (one way ticket comes 7,50€, kids under 6 travel free)
How to get to Venice from Lake Garda
Your best option is taking a train. The train station of Venice, Santa Lucia is basically IN Venice, a perfect starting point to explore the Lagoon. Direct trains from south Lake Garda are running at least hourly starting from 11€/one way (kids are paying about half). If you decide to go there by car, you obviously can’t get on the island due to the lack of streets. You need to park your car on a parking (20-30€) and take a Vaporetto into town (7,50€ p/P). Check out Katelyn’s post about driving in Italy if you need some advise.